We proudly adhere to a DIR/Floortime framework when working with all of our families/children. The following explanation can be found at www.profectum.org
The Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD) Model is Profectum’s Approach to Integration
Cuong Do, Dr. Serena Wieder, Monica Osgood and the Profectum Faculty Developmental problems need developmental solutions. Drs. Greenspan and Wieder developed an integrated bio-psycho-social framework to profile typical development, which became a guide for assessment and interventions for individuals with special needs.
The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship based model (DIR® / DIRFloortime®) identifies the functional emotional developmental milestones that integrate emotional and intellectual development. Not only do interventions have to be tailored to the unique profile of the child but depend on relationships as the vehicle for learning and affect to engage and give meaning to experiences.
This framework provides the anchor for a comprehensive intervention approach that changes as the child grows.
What If ?! …
- despite all intensive efforts, development does not progress at a steady rate?
- the child and caregiver learn how to co-regulate and engage, but have trouble progressing for there?
- the child’s sensory system results in the child experiencing the world as an unpredictable and scary place?
- the child’s motor system is so disorganized that he or she cannot express their ideas and intentions, even when they know what they want to do.
- the intervention program and daily interactions fall into a rut that don’t promote development at the child’s specific developmental level?
The Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD’s) provide the construct for adapting experiences, strategies and intervention programs to allow each individual to realize his or her developmental potential!
This often starts with the adults in an individual’s life adapting their responses to foster feelings of…
- Sensory Experience
- Emotional State
- Judgement Free Zone
- In SELF
- In Environments
- In Activities/ Situations/Demands
- With People Control
- I can make something happen, or not
- I can be an EQUAL contributor to interactions/situations
- I am in control of myself Communication
- Expresses who you are!
Because every child, family system and environment is unique, modifications and adaptations to intervention goals and programs must also be flexible to recognize and support the individual needs of each individual at various stages of development.
For over 40 years The DIR model has changed the lives of thousands of families and professionals caring for individuals with special needs. Over the last two decades we have learned, and research supports, that the complex sensory and motor systems of people with autism and other challenges in relating and communicating require a dynamic, not static, approach to intervention.
The DIR model provides a clear guide for development based on the Functional Emotional Developmental Levels (FEDL’S) also know as the “D” in DIR®. We know that relationships, the “R,” are our strongest mechanism for promoting developmental progress.
We also respect that other factors play a role in the child and caregiver’s ability to deepen the quality their relationship to support some areas of development.
Some of these factors include:
- Socio-economic environment
- Safe and stable home and community
- Relationship patterns with caregivers, siblings and peers
- Individual Sensory and Motor profiles
Finally, our model has always recognized the need to tailor intervention strategies to each child’s individual sensory and motor profile, the “I.” This component of the model is the least obvious to assess and often, the severity of how the individual profile impacts a person’s ability to act on, and communicate his or her intentions is highly underestimated. We also understand how differences in the sensory and motor systems interfere with a person’s availability to successfully engage in meaningful interactions and experiences needed to attain developmental progress.
Thanks to our beautiful relationships with thousands of families, insights shared with us from the children and adults we work with, and ongoing, cutting-edge research, we have a much more accurate understanding of how all individuals can develop the Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD’s) that are needed to allow each person to maximize progress through the FEDL’s. These capacities are:
We created the FCD model to provide guidance for adapting the child’s experience to provide the emotional foundations needed to maximize progress through the FEDL’s at different stages throughout the lifespan. This may include integrating principles and strategies from a range of intervention approaches in order to tailor intervention programs to support each individual’s unique sensory and motor systems, ability to connect, communicate, learn and be independent. The FCD’s complement the DIRFloortime® framework by defining critical elements and experiences, which further enable children to climb the developmental levels. These capacities are dynamic and change as the individual grows, progresses through the developmental levels and experiences build memories, comprehension and contribute to one’s sense of self.
Semi-structured and structured activities designed to foster feelings of COMFORT, COMPETENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONTROL AND COMMUNICATION = The reduction of stress and abilities realized!
Setting up successful interactions = CONFIDENCE!
Development is Never Straightforward …
Neither is intervention. Despite research advances made in the last decade, attempts to translate these into best practice(s) face many challenges and obstacles. While early identification now has some reliable tools and clinical trials are underway in early intervention, it is not yet possible to capture the complexity of autism spectrum disorders and the variability in how different children respond to different interventions, especially as children grow older and become adolescents or adults and outcomes vary so widely. Identifying the potential capacities of each person and guiding their development to realize this potential is the most important goal we have.
Most importantly, in a dynamic intervention model, every child is viewed as having an inner world with feelings and desires and experiences that they cannot always express but can let us know about in different ways. The feelings, insights, and experiences of parents must also be considered; providers and caregivers need to reflect on the complexity of the child’s development and functioning, as well as their own feelings to best support the child’s development.
Since we are very far from knowing which interventions will benefit which person in this diverse disorder, we must rely on extensive clinical experience and developmental models to guide best practice. Two key principles are relevant.
• First, intervention models must address the unique characteristics of each child and the families and systems they are part of.
• Second, individuals develop across the lifespan and can continue to advance if (or when?) provided with foundational capacities for development to support learning and functioning.
In the last century development began to take on various meanings. For some it was the behavioral and regulatory aspect of growth. For others it involved a progression of skills to support functioning and competence and for still others, the essence was an emotional and thoughtful life with relationships at the center. Development encompasses all of these meanings.
Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD) Model Explained
At Profectum we believe development advances when experience captures the child’s affects and interests and activates new learning, gets organized through interactions, and gets integrated into the child’s repertoire of thinking, feeling and functioning.
These experiences build the foundational capacities for development that carry through one’s lifespan (“Foundational Capacities for Development” or FCD). They are integrative capacities that go beyond specific sensory motor processing and environmental challenges, as they are more fundamental, dynamic, interactive and underlie how, and to what degree they effectively integrate experience to advance development.